Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wishful vs Lateral Thinking

My disdain for the mainstream info-tainment media is based on a very rational set of concerns.

One of them is that normal everyday people will never truly have the opportunity to consider or debate a relevant public issue, because they will never truly have all the information.

The healthcare debate in the US is a case in point. Following current pop culture trends, it seems that to oppose the Obama Administration's 1,000+ page healthcare reform package, means that you obviously oppose health care reform, want poor people to die, and are a scaremonger.

Oh, I almost forgot: And you're probably racist. Since November 2008, there seems to be a bit more of that going around.

In the real world, as opposed to that whacky alternate dimension to which the media are an effective portal, it doesn't mean any of that. For starters, and unlike the hordes of Democrats trying to sell it, it means you've actually read the healthcare package.

Is this plan to provide more care for more people, or to save money, or both? It can't be both. That's not possible. You can't simply say you're going to provide more people with more health care, and it's going to be cheaper.

While there is much back and forth between the parties on the details, none of which are particularly clear anyway, someone has thought outside the circle.

Someone has suggested that you cannot have health care reform without tort reform.
Medical Liability leads to more insurance. More insurance leads to more cost.

”The medical liability crisis has had many unintended consequences, most notably a decrease in access to care in a growing number of states and an increase in healthcare costs. .." says Dr. Stuart Weinstein, of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Quite simply, it is too easy to sue a doctor, particularly with pro-bono allowances which make for more ambulance-chasing lawyers. Then, practitioners will move to states where liability laws are less severe, but even then, will shy away from high-risk practices.

Apart from more costs and less services, less people then want to become doctors and surgeons. Logically, now they want to become attorneys. And as I've always said, attorneys are like Idol winners. We love them, really we do. We just don't need any more.

Care standards drop, and therefore the potential for malpractice increases. These costs are spun to the consumer as "high health care costs" when really, they are legal and insurance costs.

To cut a long and litigious story short, the current tort system is estimated to cost the US health system around $200 billion per year.

Talk about thinking outside the circle. Before you can genuinely reform health care, you must reform the tort system. Less pro-bono, more loser-pays. Less frivolous lawsuits. More caps on lawsuit payouts. More rule-of-law deciding genuine malpractice cases, less ankle-biters trying to profit off someone else, for their own lack of responsibility.

I don't doubt that many people have expressed this idea. But when Sarah Palin expresses it, it actually gets heard.

How does a housewife from Wasilla, Alaska, get the White House to remove a major section of the bill pertaining to end-of-life-care and rationing, merely by posting on Facebook? .

But of course, Palin is just parroting. She's just a pretty neo-con reading hate speech from someone else's script, right? Well, sure, if that rocks your prejudice boat. Except she was governor of a state which had caps on lawsuit awards against health care providers, pioneered the “loser pays” system to deter frivolous law suits, and inhibited "quack" court testimonies against real doctors. That's walking the walk.

Using facebook is a stroke of pure genius. It won't stop the delusional hatred of her by the Obamabots, but it will make sure her words arrive at the ears of her millions of listeners complete, pure, unfiltered and unaltered by a delusionally biased media.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

And again: It's a S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y F-E-N-C-E

You know it's a slow news week when SBS and ABC have to dig up some fringe, anecdotal claims of Israeli not-very-nice-ness and run it as though a press-stopping world event has just occurred.

Hamas are in the business of anti-Israel propaganda. Sometimes I wonder whether western news agencies actually give them ideas, instead of the other way around.

I recently watched an SBS "report" from the BBC (surprise) about Palestinian children being detained for throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. Naturally, no mention was made of a string of injuries to which the IDF were responding. But even after wading through the usual excuses given (by the BBC, not the Palis), about occupation and oppression, I was still left aghast at how, exactly, this is supposed to be news.

I would love to test that theory by telling my son to go and throw bricks at council officers, call it a "legitimate expression of frustration against council rate rises", then see what happens.

Likewise, when it's a slow news week anywhere, attention invariably turns to Israel's security barrier in the West Bank, to placate the media's appetite for all things anti-Israel. The ecumenical social gospel choir of the World Council Of Churches once called it an "obscene concrete barrier" which "surrounds the West Bank".

This is despite the fact that the boundary is 90% wire fence, the concrete section of which barely covers the northern third of Bethlehem. This is the "wall" which activists, from substance-abusing recording artists, to known terrorists, to Bishops and green politicians, to Israel's own left-leaning university academics, refer to as the "apartheid wall". Yessir, you know a country is truly free when career-seeking individuals within it's public system use that very freedom to launch baseless attacks on that country's integrity.

The West Bank security fence facilitates border checkpoints and crossings to screen Palestinians crossing over into Israel for work, shopping, medical attention or other reasons (since they have so much trouble doing those kinds of things in their own territories). It's much the same practice as that in airports, when they assume the worst so they can achieve the best. Ever been through a checkpoint at an aiport? Did you cry "apartheid"? Why not? Those who aren't catching a plane don't have to go through such humiliation!

This crazy, draconian mentality on Israel's part might be something to do with the 1,000 plus Israelis killed since the "peace process" was put forward at Camp David in 2000, where Yasser Arafat bellowed his righteous refusal and stormed out like a petulant child. Yes, the ensuing "intifada" was a masterstatement of the Palestinian preparedness for peace. 1,000 Israelis dead, from violence emanating from the West Bank. Even when the intifada slowed down, sniping of Israeli children and passing motorists from valleys in the West Bank valleys continued.

Although I'm no military expert, I'm going to hypothesise on the possible options Israel had to deal with this:

1- Send in the IDF and shoot the place up until it stops, no doubt causing civilian deaths (despite their world-beating standards on preventing civilian casualties in the face of an enemy who enjoys death)
2- Bomb the armaments and weapons caches (same as above)
3- Carpet bomb the entire place (worse than both of the above)
4- Ask the PA to stop the violence. (Just kidding. I know it's ridiculous too. I just wanted to add an extra number)
5. Build a wall

Here's part of the barrier

Can you say "passive defence"? There are, indeed, more pragmatic reasons why the barrier is neccessary and in fact several reasons why the Arab bloc should welcome it if they truly seek stability in the region and a two state solution.

And here's why it's needed

The concrete portion of the fence is, indeed, obscene. It's obscene that it is needed to stop bullets entering Israeli towns. A cursory look at Google Earth will demonstrate how the proximity of the concrete sections achieve this, while the rest of the barrier is wire fence and trenches. It's like an enima. It ain't pretty. But it works.

Airport checkpoints aren't very nice either. Sure, this analogy hardly addresses all the salient issues surrounding the Israeli SECURITY FENCE, but I'm not trying to address those. I'm trying to understand why the World Council of Churches, SBS, ABC, and The Washington Post among so, so many others, make such shrill, focussed efforts to portray Israel's defence of it's people as anything but what it really is. And why, for all the hand wringing, emotional terms and lamentating the inconvenience of Palestinians, the brutality which lead to it's construction is totally omitted.

Oh, and I can't help but wonder why not the same impassioned, heavily spun stories on the following (courtesy of American Thinker):

-A 112-mile-long barrier, with concrete, barbed wire, watchtowers, minefields and ditches -- that has sliced through Cyprus since 1974 to separate Turkish Cypriots from Greek Cypriots.

-A security barrier built by India through disputed Kashmir that runs hundreds of miles to blunt intrusion by Pakistan-based terrorists.

-Saudi Arabia's barrier to prevent infiltration of terrorists from neighboring Yemen, itself built in areas under dispute.

-The barrier that separates Protestants and Catholics in Belfast, which somehow has escaped any pejorative description like "apartheid wall." It's commonly known as the "Peace Line" -- a label that equally fits Israel's security barrier along the West Bank.

-The "Wall of Shame" -- a sand and stone barrier, mined in some places -- that protects Moroccans from Polisario terrorists in the Western Sahara.

- The U.S. barrier along the border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants

I guess I'll never know.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When Baptists attack...

Not days after a terrorist plot was blown open in Australia , the apologising begins.

The article I linked to above goes out of its way to avoid using any reference to the religious affiliations of the alleged perpetrators. It's an ABC article (feign shock and surprise here).

You haven't guessed yet? They're Islamic. I guessed that all by myself, from picking out the words "fatwa", "Al-Shabaab", "links to Al-Qaeda", and "Broadmeadows".

An article in goes on to tell us that it’s clear terrorists don’t look like anything in particular and could be living in your street. It then ridicules what it calls "racial profiling", telling us that terrorists now hail from Indonesia, East Africa, Lebanon and other Eastern Mediterranean areas, Pakistan and Adelaide, and of varying ages.

Good, so you won't mind then if we put at the top of the profiling criteria "Men of Islamic Extraction". No race required.

Naturally, the ABC goes on to afford the suspects some kind of victim status by association:

Doctor Berhard Ahmed from the African Think Tank in Melbourne fears there will be a backlash against Somalis living in Australia following the raids.

Thanks Doctor, but the immediate threat seems to be from jihadis toward Aussies who actually love and serve their country. Let's stick to that for now, as it seems to be more important than your hand-wringing paranoia. Here's a little tonic for your fears: There was no "backlash" against Muslims after 9-11, no "backlash" against Indonesians after the Bali bombings, and no "backlash" against Pakistanis after the Mumbai massacres. We are, it seems, mostly decent people here in not-Muslim land.

"...some people are even commenting that these people have to go back," he said.

How awful of them. They used words, you say? Awful.

The report mentions that one of the suspects travelled to Somalia to seek the fatwa, and many Somalis are frequently travelling back to Somalia to "fight". Whatever unspeakable horror forced them to flee to good ol' Down Under, couldn't have been that bad, since they go back voluntarily.

But, since you don't want us to "send them back", then here's what we'll do. We will try them under our criminal law. Then, if they're found guilty, we won't behead them, rape their daughters, murder their family and massacre their tribe. Instead, we'll send them to jail where they will get three round meals a day, TV, exercise, and a chance to chat with other jihadis and compare notes.

Then, we'll ask them if they can provide us with information which might help us prevent any other jihadis from attacking more innocent Aussies. We promise to ask nicely.

But however nicely we ask, an army of university students and human rights lawyers will rise up to express outrage at our treatment of these poor victims of western oppression and eventually pressure a government who will, in desperation to be popular, release them.

We then repeat the whole process from the top of this post.